Malvin Manhoef returns to face England’s Kent Kauppinen at Bellator: London this June.
Bellator’s return to London has added a middleweight scrap that screams knockout. The promotion announced via social media early Tuesday that Melvin Manhoef would face Kent Kauppinen at the event, taking place in June. Numerically, this year’s Bellator: London card is Bellator 224, and follows the promotion’s return to Madison Square Garden a week earlier.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) April 16, 2019
Manhoef (30–14–1 (2)), now 42 years old, has not fought since 2017, when he lost the second of two straight bouts against then-middleweight champ Rafael Carvalho. That came at Bellator 176, nearly a year after Carvalho barely edged past Manhoef in their first meeting, a fight many thought the Dutch striker should have won.
‘No Mercy’ now makes his return over two years later, taking on England’s own Kent Kauppinen (11-4), who has gone 1-1 in the promotion to date. While his resume lacks the star power that Manhoef’s boasts, an upset win over Alessio Sakara has earned him a chance at a bigger name. That December victory at Bellator 211 ended in a first round knockout, in enemy territory in Sakara’s native Italy.
Bellator 223 takes place June 22 at the SSE Arena in London, England. A middleweight title fight between Gegard Mousasi and Rafael Lovato Jr. tops the card, which also features Paul Daley taking on Erick Silva.